The Hoyas started IAC playoffs Tuesday against the Bulldogs of St. Albans. After defeating the DC private school by just one goal in the regular season, the boys came into this game determined to assert their dominance once again. After a slow first period, the Hoyas, thanks to goals from a freshman, a sophomore, a junior, and a senior (not in that order), defeated the Bulldogs in a nail biting overtime period!
After puck drop on rink 3 at the Rockille Ice Arena, the two teams engaged in back and forth play free of any penalties. With 4:34 remaining in the first, however, the bulldogs broke the silence and put one on the board. The first period concluded with a 0-1 deficit for the Hoyas.
Starting into the second, play continued on rink 3. Just a few minutes in, something quite unusual occurred. As senior captain Cole “Dangle Snipe Celly” Taylor was carrying the puck around the back of the net manned by Barry “Brick Wall” Leese, a substantially large chunk of ice came off the rink onto the senior’s stick. Due to the unsafe gaping hole in the ice, the authorities, and Coach Bliss, made the executive decision to move play over to rink 1.
This delay in play and change of rinks came as a changing of the tide in the Hoyas’ favor. As play continued on the new rink, St. Albans struck again scoring a fluke goal with 10:56 remaining in the second. With the Hoyas now down by two, Lazar “Serbian Machine” Zamurovic powered the puck into the zone down along the boards. The senior held the stick in one hand and fended off St. Albans defensemen with the other and stuffed the puck right into the goalie. Unfortunately, the puck refused to cross the goal line, so Ryan “Bar Down” Howe showed off his aggressive side by jamming the puck under the goalie until finally it crossed, giving the boys their first of the game. The score moved within one with 10:22 left in the period. About seven minutes later, freshman Maurice “Max the Rocket” Newnam had a stellar two-goal shift. For his first, the freshman received a pass from his contemporary Johnny Mac and showed off his soft hands and unbelievable stick skills by dangling around the goalie just outside the crease to slide one home. Seconds later, “The Rocket” collected a pass from Johnny again and patiently wheeled through St. Albans defensemen until he let the puck fly at the perfect moment. The Puck hit twine again for the freshman, concluding scoring for the period. The buzzer rang with the Hoyas up 3-2.
With just one period left to play, the boys knew there was more work to be done. Up by just one, Ryan “Howitzer” Holman helped bring the lead to two. As Jake “Bean” Neeb skated the puck into the zone, he unleashed a whistling cross-ice pass onto the tape of Holman’s stick. The junior sniped one to the far glove side right where mama keeps the cookies, for the Hoyas’ fourth of the game with 13:30 remaining in regulation. Just seconds later, the boys took a tough penalty giving the other guys a man advantage. St. Albans took advantage of the powerplay and brought the score to 4-3. Four minutes later, the Bulldogs put another goal on the board, tying the game up at four. As regulation play concluded, the Hoyas and Bulldogs remained locked at four meriting a decisive overtime period.
As the five-minute overtime period began, both teams refused to let up for a second. After a couple minutes of play and a shot on net for both teams, sophomore Jake Neeb carried the puck into the zone and desperately let a shot loose. As the puck didn’t find twine, senior Ryan “Bar Down” Howe took hold of the rubber and carried it down low back behind the net searching for an opening to present itself. At just the right time, the senior threw the puck into the low slot onto the stick of Michael “Milkman” Melch, who sure knows how to deliver. The sophomore took the shot and found the back of the net, finishing out a 5-4 victory for the boys and in turn guaranteeing a trip to the IAC Championship Game.
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